Serena Williams targets the fourteenth US Open semifinal of her extraordinary career as she takes on Tsvetana Pironkova, a woman…
Serena Williams targets the fourteenth US Open semifinal of her extraordinary career as she takes on Tsvetana Pironkova, a woman who is having a remarkable tournament herself.
Serena Williams vs Tsvetana Pironkova | US Open women's QF | 9/9/2020Serena -5.5 games 11/10 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Serena vs Pironkova is live from New York on Wednesday 9 September, 12pm local/5pm BST
After tough tests against Sloane Stephens and Maria Sakkari, both of whom pushed Serena Williams to a third set, is the six-time US Open champion vulnerable or simply being battle-hardened by each challenge she sees off?
Williams has not lost a US Open quarterfinal since 2007, and she has never lost to Tsvetana Pironkova. The Bulgarian lost all four previous matches against Williams, but her run this fortnight, in her first tournament after retiring in 2017 to have a child, proves that nothing is impossible.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
How to watch Serena vs Pironkova live
US Open matches including Serena Williams vs Tsvetana Pironkova are streamed live alongside odds and in-play betting at bet365.
*Geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify
Serena vs Pironkova: Head-to-head
Serena Williams has won all four of her previous matches against Tsvetana Pironkova. Pironkova took sets on grass and clay, but their two most recent matches, which were also their two hard-court matches, saw Williams win all four sets: 6-2, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.
They last played in Cincinnati in 2015.
Serena vs Pironkova: Preview
Serena Williams has been tested on her way to the quarterfinals, having to rally from a set down against Sloane Stephens before surviving a rematch with Maria Sakkari, who beat her in ‘Cincinnati’ less than two weeks ago.
Sakkari played very well, finding her most attacking tennis against Williams: Undeterred by letting three break points in a row slip past in the first set, or two in the second set, she clinched it in a tie-break and actually led 2-0 against a Serena who was, if not reeling, struggling to find her range on her forehand and a way through Sakkari.
Does battling her way through without being able to consistently find her best tennis bode well for Williams’s chances, or mean that she’s vulnerable? Time will tell, but I incline to the latter. Ultimately, she found her biggest shots when they mattered most against Sakkari, and as importantly, she didn’t appear to be physically struggling through the 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3 victory, unlike in ‘Cincinnati’ when she cramped in the third set.
Williams might have the physical advantage over Pironkova in the quarterfinals, because the Bulgarian definitely looked to be struggling against Alize Cornet. In fact, both women seemed to be struggling physically in a match which nevertheless contained many, many marathon rallies and lasted two hours and 53 minutes, although it would not have had Pironkova been able to serve it out when she had the opportunity in the second set. It was a tremendously watchable match, but it did leave me with the impression that Pironkova, as well as she played and has been playing, is beginning to feel the physical strain of so many matches after so long out of competition.
Apart from that factor, how do these two match up? Williams has won all their matches, and all of their sets on hard courts, although they haven’t met since 2015. Pironkova has a vicious slice forehand which has been most effective on these courts, and can be a good tactic against Williams, as well as a gorgeous backhand, but she’s much, much more about craft than power. Unless she produces a once-in-a-lifetime serving performance, Williams should be able to break her serve without too much trouble and I see a fairly dominant straight-sets win for the American to end the Bulgarian’s memorable run.